• How much is a life worth? How high can medical expenses continue to rise?

    Asked by GregP_WN on Saturday, January 18, 2020

    How much is a life worth? How high can medical expenses continue to rise?

    I am thinking about this today. My most recent bill of over 28k for an hour or less in OR for a biopsy in my throat. The doctor told me she expected it to be a 10 minute procedure. I think it went longer since they found malignant material, but still, I was in and out an in the recovery in an hour.

    My next surgery I expect to be 250K based on a similar surgery 11 years ago for a radical neck dissection was 127K. Where does it stop? Why are things so crazy priced? 50.00 for a bottle of generic throat spray that's 2.00 at the dollar store. It's a system that is a runaway train. I don't know what the answer is and I'm sure that nothing will be done about it since everyone thinks they are the expert on everything. People will die because of it, this I know.

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • Jayne's Avatar
      Jayne

      It really is a run away train with no end in sight. There is a push for transparency in pricing because the cost of a procedure in one state vs another is vastly different. I don't know how the system can be fixed, it's extremely broken and we are left with huge bills on top of dealing with extreme physical distress. The state of healthcare in this country is so disheartening.

      about 1 month ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      What I find so confusing is how little the insurance company pays for one procedure or med, but pays almost the full amount for another med. The biggie things are bad enough, but that $45 copay for every specialist visit afterward is a serious financial burden for those of us who are retired and on a fixed income.

      30 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      I had best not ask, as I am beginning to rival Steve Austin, the 6 million dollar man (how much would he cost after inflation???). Anyway, after almost 12 years of constant treatment and a $500K stem cell transplant., pretty soon you are talking about real money!
      @JaneA Insurance, cant live with it, can't...well you know. They have no problem with the $13,000/month GvHD medication, but they will argue the cost of insulin pens and needles all day, which leaves me on pins and needles, so to speak. Sorry. :-0

      30 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I understand/heard/read that a little boy in Nebraska costs a million dollars a day, and Social Security pays that. Yet hundreds and thousands of diabetics can't hardly get insulin or those strips. Allergic kids can't get epipens It is a confusing mess. .

      29 days ago
    • Molly72's Avatar
      Molly72

      Why hasn't our government tried to make medical expenses easier on their constituents?
      They get their underwear all in a bunch about guns, Confederate statues, and building our own Berlin Wall in Texas,---- but keeping medical expenses affordable is not high on their priority list.
      We know why, don't we? Somebody's pockets are getting lined by Big Pharma and Big Insurance and Big Medical.
      Please vote, and think before you vote. Our lives depend on it.

      29 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Here is my current position with insurance. I have the same insurance that I had before my last diagnosis. The same facility I have been going to for over eleven years recently denied me access to a Urologist, they said that they "didn't accept my type of insurance". I spent 10 minutes arguing with the girl on the phone trying to explain that not only do they accept it, but they have been paid hundreds of thousands and I've been using it there for 11 years. "I'm sorry sir, we just don't accept it". Like beating your head up on a wall. Now, this next scheduled surgery is set for next Tuesday and my first stop will be at check-in where they will ask for insurance. I hope they have already done the legwork and approvals. Once before I had to sit there for 2 hours while they contacted my insurance company to get approval. It shouldn't be an issue, but you never know.

      29 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      As much as I complain about my Advantage Plan HMO, they make darn sure that the procedure-treatment is pre-approved. Once I thanked them, and someone said--We hire a few hundred people to make sure that we get paid without stressing you. I also get a phone call, Email, and a message in my electronic chart, so that I have proof of this.

      29 days ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar
      PaulineJ

      All I know is lots of people don't understand what is really going on.I'm so glad I'm saved and going home soon.The sign are all there for the Church to understand that.
      1Cor.15:1-4 , Romans 3:25 and most important Revelations 22:20

      29 days ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      The system is also hard on Dr.s many Dr.s are forced to incorporate or practice in a group. My parent's PCP was one of the few single practice Dr.s in town. He put together a free clinic in his office two nights a week and Saturday morning. Several Dr.s who were in groups joined him. Even though this was on their own time some of the Dr.s were forced to quit by their groups. I couldn't understand this because the people making use of the service did would not have gone to a Dr. anyway and would have ended up in the ER.

      29 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      One of my doctors maintains an independent practice. He told me one day that it used to take three people to run the office and now he has eight people on staff just to take care of all the required paper work. And we wonder why costs are so high?

      29 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      Doctors have been complaining about this for way over a decade. For myself, I wish that I could afford an independent doctor. I don't like this system, because a doctor doesn't get as much money, if they do something like give an elder like me an antibiotic-then Medicare financially punishes the whole clinic because of that one doctor taking care of me. I am dead serious about that. It is to the point of ridiculous.

      About 2008-I think--congress voted to adopt the United Nations medical coding-called IDC 10 or 12 or something. -International Diagnostic Coding- they had to buy special computers and coding, and hire and train the staff to do all of this c rap. My ENT belonged to an over crowded clinic. He had a chance to get a luxury office in the Networks new building in another county. He invested, and he almost filed bankruptcy, be all of the doctors complained about IDC and the costs of extra hires, computers, etc. He had to store the new equipment and went back to the old equipment. For about 2 years, he and another doctor were the only occupants.

      Then I went in for something at Urgent Care- the doctor complained that with the thousands of codes, they didn't have one for my medical problem at the time.

      29 days ago
    • Paperpusher's Avatar
      Paperpusher

      @ Meyati, I remember when the IDC-10 went into effect. Everyone was having to attend classes to understand how the new coding was going to work for 6 months to a year prior. Some of the former codes disappeared and others got divided into even more sub-categories. It was a mess until offices got the hang of it.

      28 days ago
    • smlroger's Avatar
      smlroger

      As that wise swamp resident Pogo once said, "we have met the enemy and it is us."

      28 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      Well, much of the coding is for rural-semi-rural Scandinavia and Germany and Baltic States--like carrying a goose down stairs, and the goose causes you to fall and break bones. That is one that always comes to my mind.

      I am a person, where my temp is low, and it often drops with a fever- like 92 F, My normal temp is 94, 95- I was hospitalized on a surgery floor with Pasteurella Multocida after radiation, and my temp was so low that the electronics didn't register my temp, which also kept it from displaying oxygen levels and BP.-etc.
      I pointed out that the company had better get this fixed before they had hypothermic patients, some ski slopes were still open. . The local rep came over and tried to fix the monitors from the same floor, the ER, etc. They flew someone in from Ohio- they wanted me and the hospital to know the company cared that much- that somebody flew out to NM from Ohio in the middle of the night. Anyway, IDC 10 at that time did not have any code for a severe infection and the temperature drops. I know that I am not the only person in Albuquerque or the world that has this problem.

      Some enter not applicable or enter the codes for infected hypothermia. While there is a lot of training, it doesn't cover everything. and the doctor and nurses sometimes can't seem to wrap their brains around my body temps.

      28 days ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I have had two Dr.s quit the system in my life time. The first one was a Family Care Dr. He left California to take a position on a reservation in Alaska. His reason "at least I can use the resources that I have for what I think is best for my patient. I won't have an accountant in Sacramento telling me what to prescribe"
      The second Dr. left to practice medicine in a missionary facility in Southeast Asia, Laos, I believe

      28 days ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      Talk about a mess. Very disheartening.

      27 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      All of what you all said, plus, throw in the fact that everybody is waiting for a chance to "get a check" for a slipped scalpel. And this Tuesday I will be asked no less than a dozen times who I am and why I'm there, and what am I having done? Birthday, social, name of the firstborn pet, Donna's Scandinavian Grandmother's name, and what village she lived in. Just to make sure they don't take off the wrong leg. And no, I am not having one removed.

      27 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      Prepping for a procedure recently I was asked all those questions at least a half dozen times including verifying repeatedly that I am allergic to Chlorhexidine. I finally get in the procedure room where the first thing they do is splash ice cold liquid all over my back. A moment later the nurse looks at her computer screen and says "oops, you're allergic to Chlorhexidine?". No! I only told you that SIX times for fun! Lucky for them it was a very short procedure and they scrubbed the stuff off very vigorously when it was over. No apology, just a statement that Chlorhexidine is "what they use". That was not a serious gaff but shows how easily (and nonchalantly) mistakes are made even with there constant checking and rechecking.

      27 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      @GregP_WN Had cataract surgery and new lenses last year, due to age, steroids and radiation. Doing the second eye, as usual I was asked the usual redundant questions. This, I found out, does not eleminate the possibility of error. Dr. Removed the cataracts and lens, then placed a news lens in my eye and prepared to clean up. Some muffled voices in the corner. "We're very sorry, but a "team member" has provided doctor with the wrong lens. We have to go back into your eye, pull it out and replace it with the correct lens. Fortunately, they did so before the sedation wore off.

      Could I sue? Of course. Not worth the fight. After all I've been through in recent years, I am delighted that my vision is better now that it ever was - mistake or no.

      26 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      hey po my question is if they charged you more for that?

      26 days ago
    • Paperpusher's Avatar
      Paperpusher

      When I had my last colonoscopy, I was told it would be less expensive if I paid it up front without insurance but when I tried to get pricing it was all over the place. It depended on the coding and the person I was speaking with and sometimes the time of day. I finally gave up and just let it go through insurance.

      26 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Yes, they charged. But, my entire journey has been like this - this is just the latest chapter.

      26 days ago

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